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Bends, also known as caisson disease or decompression sickness, dangerous physiological reaction resulting from a rapid decrease in atmospheric pressure that may release nitrogen bubbles into the body. These can obstruct small blood vessels, collect in the joints, and damage the nervous system. Symptoms involve painful joints and muscles, convulsions, double vision, and paralysis. Divers, airplane pilots, and others working in compressed-air situations are the usual victims.

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